Canadian Seafood Exports Reach $4.5 billion in 2004

A successful year for Canadian fisheries and aquaculture exports
March 15, 2005

Canadian Parliamentary Secretary Shawn Murphy, on behalf of the Honourable Geoff Regan, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, announced that 2004 proved to be a successful year for fish and seafood exports when Canadian sales to more than 120 countries totalled $4.5 billion. The announcement came during Canada's participation in the 2005 International Boston Seafood Show.

"For the past several years, Canada has benefited from exceptional export figures. This is evidence of our country's commitment to providing quality seafood products to an increasing number of international markets", said Mr. Murphy, M.P. for Charlottetown.

Even though the Canadian dollar was worth seven per cent more compared to the U.S. dollar, exports of $4.5 billion were equal to the sales recorded in 2003. More than 685,000 tonnes of fish and seafood products were exported worldwide last year - up eight per cent compared to 2003.

"Seafood is the largest single food commodity exported by Canada. The commendable performance in 2004 by all stakeholders is tangible proof of why Canada is the fifth largest seafood exporter in the world," Mr. Murphy said. "The stability of Canada's fisheries depends upon the future productivity of the resource. That's why DFO works so hard to ensure that fishing is conducted in a way that respects the sustainability and viability of all stocks."

The United States remains Canada's largest export destination, with nearly two-thirds of its seafood products, valued at $2.8 billion, sold to this market. Once again, Japan ranked second with Canadian seafood imports valued at nearly $500 million. Exports to the European Union, Canada's third largest trading partner, increased by 4.0 per cent last year to more than $474 million. China and Hong Kong followed at $366 million.

The top three species exported from Canada last year were lobster, crab, and salmon (farmed and wild) with a combined value of more than $2.5 billion. They accounted for 55 per cent of Canada's seafood exports. Lobster exports were $951.7 million, followed by crab, worth $925.6 million, and salmon, at $573.5 million. Other major export species included herring, scallops, cod, halibut, and clams, with a combined value of almost $600 million.

Nova Scotia was once again the largest exporting province at $1.09 billion, with its top-valued products - lobster, scallops, and crab - accounting for more than $615 million. Newfoundland and Labrador came in second, with exports worth $1.01 billion - shrimp, crab, and Atlantic cod being its highest-selling products. British Columbia ranked third at $985 million; New Brunswick, fourth at $824 million. The province of Quebec saw a significant increase of more than 15 per cent in exports last year, moving it up to fifth place with $218 million, ahead of Prince Edward Island, at $181 million.

These international trade figures were released during the International Boston Seafood Show, which is taking place March 13-15, 2005. Known as the largest seafood event in the Northeast, thousands of industry professionals from around the world gather to meet buyers, explore markets, and introduce and view new products.

"These figures show how our fishing industry is staying competitive despite the higher dollar," Mr. Murphy said. "Events such as the Boston Seafood Show, however, expose Canadian companies to the latest technology and innovation to generate greater value from our seafood products."

Mr. Murphy is the Parliamentary Secretary to Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He is attending the show on behalf of Minister Regan in support of Canada's fish and seafood industry. Mr. Murphy took part in a roundtable luncheon yesterday with Fisheries and Aquaculture Ministers as well as business development Ministers and industry representatives. He also attended a panel breakfast this morning where representatives from various seafood sectors gave an industry perspective on the major challenges faced by the seafood business.

More information:

For a detailed breakdown by province, see: Canadian Fish and Seafood Exports in 2004

For further information on Canada's seafood export statistics, refer to Fisheries and Oceans' Statistical Services website